|Allan Brooks - Naturalist - near Osoyoos|
IRRIGATED LANDS NEAR OLIVER.
Situated in Southern Okanagan Valley, south of Penticton, the warmest, lowest, and earliest portion of that well-known fruit-growing district, a tract, of several thousand acres is being subdivided in fruit growing areas of 10 to over 20 acres and prepared for settlement and development.
An irrigation system has been installed which will be operated by the Government until development allows of the creation of an irrigation district, after which the water-users will administer and manage the system. The areas now being offered a re confined to those within scope of the completed portion.
The tract extends from a short distance south of Vaseaux Lake to the International Boundary. The northerly part is 22 miles from Penticton. Agreement has been made with the Kettle Valley Railway Company by the Government for completion of a branch, now under construction, from Penticton a divisional point of the company's main line-through the tract, with a station at Oliver.
Which will be the administrative centre of the district, is a new townsite laid out in a picturesque part of the valley on the west of Okanagan River, 25 miles south of Penticton. It has been subdivided into business and residential blocks, with graded streets and domestic water and sewerage systems to be provided; electric light and power will be available, as the transmission-line from Bonnington Falls passes within a mile; railway service with station and yards, parks, etc.; in fact, Oliver is expected to be a modern business centre with all conveniences required by modern business and social life. The main highway will pass through the centre of the town .
|Dog Lake is now called Skaha Lake|
Where was the photographer standing to take this photo? Has the area changed? Orchard Stands dot the Highway? Houses? Picker Shacks? Resorts?
|Zoom in on the workers: see the 'wall' creating the pipe, crib supports below|
“The Ditch” that carries the lifeblood of the valley, water, is the reason the Town of Oliver exists. Yet most people today do not realize it is right under their feet as they do business around town.
Not so for Oliver born orchardist Greg Norton, guest speaker at the Oliver and District Heritage Society’s Annual General Meeting which takes place on Wednesday, April 16th at 7 p.m. at the Quail Nest on Airport Road.
Greg will share stories of “The Ditch”, a daring do place of adventurous entertainment for generations of Oliver kids. The gravity flow, concrete canal that begins its life under the shadow of McIntyre Bluff was the personal playground for Greg and his friends growing up in the 1950’s and 60’s. In later years it was his place of work. However, well before that, this amazing and seemingly simply designed structure was what his grandfather Charles Norton and others wrestled to build in the early 1920’s. Then and now, “The Ditch” has always been a central part of Norton family life.
Snip.....In 1918 soldiers began to return to the B.C. after the war; to their dismay they were welcomed by a crowded workforce and highly populated cities. The Premier of B.C. at the time, John Oliver, sought to find a solution for the veterans, who he believed should be rewarded for their valiant fighting. He instituted the Soldiers Land Act, under which he purchased 22,000 acres extending south of McIntyre bluff. It was hoped to irrigate 8,000 acres of this land – this was to be the Southern Okanagan Lands Project. The land was then to be sold to veterans who desired land and were given ‘special purchasing privileges’. Snip - Julie Cancela
Southern Okanagan Irrigation Project
1922 version of GMO
The Town of Oliver is named after “Honest” John Oliver, who became the 19th Premier of British Columbia following the death of his predecessor in 1918 and held the position of Premier until his own death in 1927. During his term in office, he was instrumental in developing the original fruit growing industry in the South Okanagan Valley, centered in what later became our community, and which adopted the Premier Oliver’s name as its own.